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Old 02-05-2004, 07:24 PM   #1
JasonFDeLucia
 
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The need for principled competition

Although I agree with many who say that the current trend in competitive venue is usually nothing more than a show case for egotism, narcissism, I'm stronger than you etc.
I think it is important to consider the good that could be done with it. For example to reverse people's thinking to the right. Right now the media glorifies, even rewards those who make them selves ugly by behaving badly. As if this is the only way to sell tickets. In many venues ring girls are paid as much as, if not more than some fighters. This is a disgrace in days of old even in prize fighting the ring cards were displayed by gentlemen in suits, and in sumo it is treated as a religious rite as well as in Thai boxing. It seems "cool" now to denigrate
the art and ceremony as well as the people. So first I would say that exhibition of ceremony and also admonition to aesthetic performance, this can only be done by those who have carried on these values and are willing to take a chance and put it on the line. To do away with the these diseased mentalities by example and attrition. Right now some ones son or daughter watches ''joe thug'' and thinks he's cool, until some budoka puts him in his place and teaches him how to act like a man with respect he will not and kids will not see this type of behavior is weak. If you say as many aikidoka say "I don't think we as aikidoka should get involved in this type of thing" , then you become guilty some how of not making a difference in a place that you easily could. Would you rather see this type of immoral depraved behavior, or find a way to correct it. I have not always been the greatest example, but I see there is something that could be done and a bright side to competition. I think in this day and age Mr. Ueshiba would agree, if it's a choice between glorifying some debase perversion or
setting a better example ,it's no contest.
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Old 02-05-2004, 07:46 PM   #2
PeterR
 
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Kenji Tomiki was quoted as saying with regard to competition.

Those that understand - understand perfectly.

The very definition of the word in English refers to a coming togeather of individuals not the perversion often displayed.

I have seen Olympic class swimmers and runners grimace in victory with an ugliness and aggression that has nothing to do with the original ideal. And yet others that, although filled with pride, treat their fellows as one would family. In Japan, among the Shodokan brethren, a competitor who does not hold the latter view is very rare. Most cases I have seen were trained elsewhere - but even here the Shodokan Aikido generally cultivates the positive behaviour.

Ueshiba M. seems to have been more concerned with rivalry rather than shiai. It appears that his main argument against the latter was the former - yet as we see the lack of shiai does not negate the rivalry.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-06-2004, 07:54 AM   #3
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I am so dissapointed that we dont have a shodokan / tomiki dojo near where I stay. I have even considered taking up judo or shotokan karate so that I can get the "sparring" out of my system.

The problem is that I want to test my Aikido, the style of judo I had access to did not allow small joint manipulation or atemi and the karate guys may or may not (I never tried) be able to take falls.

In the end I opted to do 2 different styles of Aikido 5 times a week. There is enough overlap in terms of technique that they compliment each other and enough differences to keep it interesting.

Someday I will be able to test myself against a capable partner but until that day I will keep irritating my fellow Aikidoka with our pre-class "rough-housing"
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Old 02-06-2004, 08:12 AM   #4
Greg Jennings
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I think it's great that there are schools with competition and those without.

Twenty years ago, I loved competition. It molded me in ways that I needed to be molded.

Today, though, I don't want to walk out of my *incredibly* dog-eat-dog, thin-margin, what-have-you-done-for-me-today, it's-all-about-winning, business life and into a hobby that is competitive.

I've already been there; it wasn't good for me.

YMMV and I'd feel great about that,

Greg Jennings
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Old 02-06-2004, 04:26 PM   #5
Atomicpenguin
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Jason, I don't understand exactly what it is that you're arguing for. It seems to me that you're proposing that we eliminate perversion in the martial realm by doing the very thing you have defined as being perverse (although I'm not really clear on how exactly you're defining perversion). You brought up, as an example of this perversion, that ring girls are paid as much or more than the fighters themselves. How does pummeling a guy, that the ring girl is only marginally connected to, bring an end to the distinctions in their salaries?

I apologize if it sounds as though I'm being malicious; that is not my intent. I simply would like some clarification on your argument.
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Old 02-06-2004, 06:13 PM   #6
Noel
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Jason-

My cent-and-a-half is that regardless of the ideals and goals you set out with, you're going to wind up with a certain amount of the thuggish element. As long as there is money to be made by catering to the lowest common denominator in society, someone is gonna try and make a fast buck doing so. You're from Mass, you saw the Superbowl.

At some point, regardless of your ideals and motivations, you will lose control, and then it becomes what it becomes.

I'm just trying to change my little corner of the world by setting the best example I can in public, doing what I can to make the world a better place, and trying to equip my daughter with the skills to make good decisions in her own life. (She's only 3, so yes, as soon as she's old enough, I'm gonna try and get her doing aiki too.)

You have to do what you see is the right thing, though.

-Noel
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Old 02-07-2004, 10:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Noel Kurth (Noel) wrote:
I'm just trying to change my little corner of the world by setting the best example I can in public, doing what I can to make the world a better place, and trying to equip my daughter with the skills to make good decisions in her own life. (She's only 3, so yes, as soon as she's old enough, I'm gonna try and get her doing aiki too.)

You have to do what you see is the right thing, though.
I agree totally! If you feel you can make the world a better place by competing in aikido, then go ahead.

Personally I have more then enough competition in my everyday life just trying to get through college and get myself a decent job where I won't have to compromise my ethical standards - it sounds a stupid criteria but that's me

I agree that agression, violence and sexual explicitness sells very well. And I agree that such a state of mind is not the best. But I'm not willing to sacrifice my good will and peace of mind for people who can't appreciate it. Jesus said something about not throwing pearls before swines. I'm not saying people don't deserve to know aikido and it's noble principles at their best - I'm saying that anyone prepared for them will encounter them eventually. With or without our help.

And if I may share with all of you a short story that I find illustrative...

A man was taking a walk along the beach. Soon he encounters a small boy throwing stranded sea stars (you know, those 5-limbed creatures) back into the ocean.

"What are you doing?" asked the man.

"Throwing sea stars in the water. If they stay on the sun too long, they'll die."

"Can't you see how stupid that is - the beach stretches out for miles and there must be thousands of sea stars that are stranded. You can't make any difference!"

The boy thinks for a moment, grabs another star and throws it in the water.

"I made the difference for that one."

Friendly regards to all!
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Old 02-07-2004, 02:42 PM   #8
Anders Bjonback
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Re: The need for principled competition

Quote:
Jason DeLucia (JasonFDeLucia) wrote:
To do away with the these diseased mentalities by example and attrition. Right now some ones son or daughter watches ''joe thug'' and thinks he's cool, until some budoka puts him in his place and teaches him how to act like a man with respect he will not and kids will not see this type of behavior is weak. If you say as many aikidoka say "I don't think we as aikidoka should get involved in this type of thing" , then you become guilty some how of not making a difference in a place that you easily could. Would you rather see this type of immoral depraved behavior, or find a way to correct it. I have not always been the greatest example, but I see there is something that could be done and a bright side to competition. I think in this day and age Mr. Ueshiba would agree, if it's a choice between glorifying some debase perversion or

setting a better example ,it's no contest.
How would an aikidoka make a difference, correct this type of "immoral depraved behavior?" Kick the show-off's ass in? Then what? I don't think the strongest person is necessarily right, and I don't think that's the kind of lesson we want to teach our children. If a budoka beats up "Joe Thug" just to make a point or to "put him in his place," then, in most circumstances, I would think that Mr. Budoka is no better than "Joe Thug."

I think that competition, for some people, can be a constructive thing. One of my friends does Soo Bahk Do, and he takes his art through a contemplative point of view, improving himself, etc, and engages in competitions. But the point of training in aikido isn't to score points, is it? Regardless of whether or not someone is an asshole about it, training for competition is about scoring points rather than having truly effective technique, right? Or at least, one is training to win within the rules of the game. Kind of like the difference between kenjutsu and kendo. At least, that's the way I understand it.

"For peace and happiness are presences, not objects we can grasp and hold onto."
--Lilian Smith
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Old 02-07-2004, 05:23 PM   #9
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Exclamation Re: Re: The need for principled competition

Quote:
Anders Bjonback wrote:
But the point of training in aikido isn't to score points, is it? Regardless of whether or not someone is an asshole about it, training for competition is about scoring points rather than having truly effective technique, right?
Hey all,

The above post sort of caught my eye.

I agree that training in Aikido is not about scoring points, but in the case of Shodokan competition the rules are designed so that the more effective your technique the more points you get. Folks are also penalised for attempting to force techniques without applying correct tai sabaki, kuzushi and kake. Poor attacking form on the part of Tanto is also indirectly penalised. So in my book the 2 go hand in hand, sloppy technique = no points.

This is part of why the predominant concept of shiai in Shodokan tends to be one of "meeting and testing" one's Aikido instead of "doing whatever it takes to win and be glorious", as the latter option often does not end up in success. This does not mean that there are those who do not take the latter view, it's just that they are not very prevalent imo.

Of course in other forms of competiton this may not be the case, as may be seen in touch point Kendo and Karate tournaments where a strike that would have no effect in reality is awarded points just for making contact.

Just thought I'd share.

Onegaishimasu.

L.C.

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Old 02-08-2004, 08:21 AM   #10
Ron Tisdale
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I appreciate the arguement of setting a better example. I believe that in practicing aikido in the manner I do, I help in some small way to set that better example. I hope that people can watch a class, or a demo, and see the best ideals of budo at work.

I'm also glad to see competitors in the ring set that example in their own way. I've seen it in boxing, wrestling, MMA, gymnastics...in sport and in martial art. I don't believe that to set that example, I must take my budo to the competitive ring. There are budo and martial arts that do that already. What I do is different...not better, not worse. From what I've read of Ueshiba, I don't think he would disagree.

Ron

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Old 02-08-2004, 05:58 PM   #11
JasonFDeLucia
 
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Quote:
David Enevoldsen (Atomicpenguin) wrote:
Jason, I don't understand exactly what it is that you're arguing for. It seems to me that you're proposing that we eliminate perversion in the martial realm by doing the very thing you have defined as being perverse (although I'm not really clear on how exactly you're defining perversion). You brought up, as an example of this perversion, that ring girls are paid as much or more than the fighters themselves. How does pummeling a guy, that the ring girl is only marginally connected to, bring an end to the distinctions in their salaries?

I apologize if it sounds as though I'm being malicious; that is not my intent. I simply would like some clarification on your argument.
David,arguing is not what I'm doing I'm expressing in relation that there are some who have expressed dismay towards mma for these reasons ,and I agree. I should have made the post under a relative thread, but I couldn't remember where it was.

With regard to ring girls ,I don't think they should be there at all it cheapens the seriousness of the goings on. Fighters train long and hard, and it is an insult to say that the fans should have this to look at, as if the event isn't enough.

It seems as though many think that the nature of competition is perverse well, yes and no in my opinion for example ueshiba, takeda, kano....all were competitors. Under their times and for their reasons(sometimes money) but in today's society the lines are much less clear largely due to better living through modern chemistry. Steroids, cocaine etc do more to enhance the negative aspects of the situation. Competition could be elegant and dignified with proper structure of rules and regulations example we could do away with striking on the ground submission is far more dignified and beautiful to watch.
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Old 02-08-2004, 07:02 PM   #12
PeterR
 
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Re: Re: The need for principled competition

Quote:
Anders Bjonback wrote:
Regardless of whether or not someone is an asshole about it, training for competition is about scoring points rather than having truly effective technique, right?
This time Larry beat me to the punch. Score at the moment is ..... must not compete.

The above is a very narrow view of competition and quite wrong. It's all about improving your technique. Points are transitory.

Even if we use running for an example where there is a set track and finishing line, the majority of people in the race pretty much know they are not going to win. However, they know that even in that cirucumstance their training and hence their running will be that much better. Maybe in the future they will win or not, but for the vast majority that do a sport it is not what keeps them training.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:19 AM   #13
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I think many people are afraid of competition for a variety of reasons. Some people's ego can not take losing, others are lacking in athletic ability, etc.

A small majority I think dislike competition due to their principles but many others use this as an excuse or dishonest explanation.
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:58 AM   #14
Ron Tisdale
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And many of us like competition just fine...but choose not to participate. Not because it is vile or filthy, simply because its not our bag. Is there something wrong with that? I like to WATCH a good wrestling match, or a boxing match. I no longer wish to step up to that sort of competition (there was a time when I did). Does that make me a slacker?

I compete with myself every day. I find that much more difficult, personally.

Ron

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Old 02-09-2004, 09:47 AM   #15
Talon
 
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I can relate to what Mr. Delucia is trying to say. I too hate to see some of the spectacles that you see in the mma events. I hate it when the typical "street thug" with big muscles and no evident technique wins a match and acts like a complete moron or animal and the crowd cheers. I never understood why someone that has just beat up another person has to act like a moron. To me if the person won the fight and made it seem like nothing to him and acted cool and collective would be way more impressive.

I also hate the some of the idiotic statements that some of the comentators make. My favorite was " MMA competitons have done more for martial arts in the last ten years than the various matrail arts disciplines have done in the last thousand" this is not a direct quote but a paraphrase of what this person said. He of course said that implying that the mma competitions have shown us what works and what doesn't and how now people know the truth.

I hate when people say "AIKIDO doesnt work, because if it did someone would be using it in MMA competiotions". I can see Mr. Delucia's point in saying that most people today are drawn to this type of nonesence and should be shown the truth.

I love the aruments that people make how true to reality and street effectiveness MMA competitons are and how they keep on stressing how you really need to know ground techniques to survive on the street since alot of the MMA competitons are spent and won on the ground. I then say, make their ring out of sharp, preferated concrete like a parking lot or street and we'll see how much time they spend on the ground then. Also we then would see how many consecutive falls they would take and go on in the competition.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I can see what Mr. Delucia is trying to say but if sex and violence sells than the public will always be drawn to this type of behaviour and spectacle and I'm not sure that we AIKIDOKA can do much about it. If O'Sensi was around I doubt that he would wnat to participate in these events.

Paul Nowicki

Last edited by Talon : 02-09-2004 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 02-09-2004, 12:42 PM   #16
paw
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Quote:
If O'Sensi was around I doubt that he would wnat to participate in these events.
O Sensei and several of his deshi did participate in challenge matches from time to time. While the students may have been scolded, it was never a big enough offense to get them expelled from Hombu as best I know.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-09-2004, 01:08 PM   #17
Talon
 
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I know O'Sensei accepted challenges but I'm not sure if he would be drawn to the type of MMA events of today. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see him kick some buttocks of some of the cocky musclebound gorrilas that participate in these events.

Anyway, I can't beleive how many typos I had in my previous post. I'll need to proof read my posts more carefully.
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Old 02-09-2004, 01:56 PM   #18
Don_Modesto
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Re: Re: Re: The need for principled competition

Anders Bjonback wrote: Regardless of whether or not someone is an asshole about it, training for competition is about scoring points rather than having truly effective technique, right?
Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
The above is a very narrow view of competition and quite wrong. It's all about improving your technique. Points are transitory.
Peter, would you agree that yours is the ideal and the real is more in the nature of what Mr. Bjonback wrote?

I think the inevitable rules prostitute competition. I saw a guy luck into a half-point in a judo tournament once and then spend the rest of the match weaseling away from further engagement and get away with it. Some win. Some training. All that mattered to him was the trophy. I think this is more the norm of competition in the real world and why many folk hold it in low regard. I personally like "competition" in the Rehse mode, but count myself in a minority.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 02-09-2004, 01:59 PM   #19
paw
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Quote:
I can't beleive how many typos I had in my previous post. I'll need to proof read my posts more carefully.
There's a "check spelling" button that is now available. (Thanks Jun!)
Quote:
I know O'Sensei accepted challenges but I'm not sure if he would be drawn to the type of MMA events of today.
Not knowing O Sensei I'm not sure what his feelings would have been. In contrast, Kenji Tomiki did have a personal relationship with O Sensei and there is shiai in Shodokan aikido.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-09-2004, 05:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Not knowing O Sensei I'm not sure what his feelings would have been. In contrast, Kenji Tomiki did have a personal relationship with O Sensei and there is shiai in Shodokan aikido.
Hi Paul;

I'm not sure Tomiki would be drawn to the MMA per se - although what the situation would have been when he was young, fit and dangerous I can't say. I base this on the fact that he developed Aikido randori/shiai as a way of developing Aikido techniques and used in parallel Judo randori/shiai as a means of improving Judo technique. He did the big three, kendo was in there too, but tended to keep the practice of each separate.

At higher levels the practice of all three merge more dramatically, at the basic level they start the same. He saw shiai specifically as a training method not a goal in itself. However, as a young Judo man he probably went after the trophies too.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-09-2004, 06:42 PM   #21
PeterR
 
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Re: Re: Re: Re: The need for principled competitio

Quote:
Don J. Modesto (Don_Modesto) wrote:
Peter, would you agree that yours is the ideal and the real is more in the nature of what Mr. Bjonback wrote?

I think the inevitable rules prostitute competition. I saw a guy luck into a half-point in a judo tournament once and then spend the rest of the match weaseling away from further engagement and get away with it. Some win. Some training. All that mattered to him was the trophy. I think this is more the norm of competition in the real world and why many folk hold it in low regard. I personally like "competition" in the Rehse mode, but count myself in a minority.
I will disagree with the minority statement.

Of course when you enter a competition you enter with the goal of doing as best you can. You might not win but improving your standing from the last time is goal enough. And of course, in a competition of any sort, you use anything and everything to give you an advantage. In sports that is why there are rules - it keeps things safe AND keep things moving. In a real fight (the ultimate competition) there are less rules. There are always rules just not always clear.

However, shiai does not occur every time. If it did there would be no value to the shiny trophies. What does occur is randori which depending on the person can be training for just technique or shiai. A few of the university students I know are hungry for the shiai wins but even among these they know that if they are going to reach the top they are going to have to perform real techniques under shiai conditions. They don't train for sandbagging which in itself is quite a risky strategy. The randori training is full on but they experiment get tossed and experiment some more. This is where the full value of shiai (competition) occurs although shiai provides lessons in its own right. The ring is only a focal point.

The majority of strong competitors understand this. Olympic level athletes did not get where they are by training to sandbag (although it is a tactic they might use). If you are any good a trophy at the local level looses its shine pretty quick (transitory), so does state, so does national. To move up this ladder your technique must improve.

And Don - an example does not make the majority.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:03 PM   #22
Roy Dean
 
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"I love the aruments that people make how true to reality and street effectiveness MMA competitons are and how they keep on stressing how you really need to know ground techniques to survive on the street since alot of the MMA competitons are spent and won on the ground. I then say, make their ring out of sharp, preferated concrete like a parking lot or street and we'll see how much time they spend on the ground then. Also we then would see how many consecutive falls they would take and go on in the competition."

You might be interested in the video "Worlds Wildest Streetfights." Very educational. Almost all of the fights are the same. Fast and wild swinging. Often the left hand grabs whatever the opponent is wearing and the right hand keeps swinging. The clinch happens spontaneously, with fists still flying and the fight goes to the ground. No takedowns. It just happens in the chaos. Sometimes the people get up off the ground and go back to swinging, but the opportunities for someone to finish the fight on the ground are WIDE and GAPING. And, if someone is skilled or familiar with achieving positional dominance on the ground, the concrete is their friend, as the skilled ground fighter will very likely be on top and their opponent is the one suffering the consequences of "sharp, preferated concrete."



But back to the topic at hand: Competition.

Competition is a mixed bag. I've competed. I've won. I've lost. I beaten opponents in 15 seconds, and had grueling matches where both of us felt like we were dying.

Competition can be beautiful, respectful, enlightening, inspirational, and egoless. On the other hand, it can be rude, disrespectful, humiliating, egoic and unjust. What's unsettling about competition is that it often brings out the best and worst in people.

I recently witnessed one of my good friends and teammates choked unconscious in a competition by a muscled head and arm guillotine. His opponent screamed as he applied the technique with all his might, and screamed again when he stood up and the officials were resuscitating my friend. About 4 out of 50 people clapped. Everyone else was silent.

It was bad- essentially the worst display of etiquette and martial technique I've seen in years, and I couldn't help but get emotional over the outcome. The victor was at a low skill level (less than 1 year training) while my friend is highly skilled (7 years + grappling experience). One this day, surprise, strength and aggressiveness beat skill and technique. I'm also certain that the victor was on steroids. That level of aggressiveness is not natural, and having fought people on steroids before in a competitive environment, I can tell you that it is simply not fair. It's like fighting two people. But that's life. And life is not fair.

Which makes the respectful victories, especially against pumped up adversaries, all the more sweet. In competition, I've been slammed, slapped, kicked in the crotch, taken more than a few forearms to the jaw, and generally been treated in a disrespectful manner by a handful of participants. But, this gives the budoka a rare opportunity to either fight back dirty (force on force), or take a higher road and blend with their opponent's aggression.

Once you submit a opponent cleanly, with technique and timing, after they've taken every opportunity to rough you up and make the match as miserable as possible, something happens to THEM when you shake their hand give them a hug and a smile. You dissolve their animosity, and set their ego at ease.

And others notice as well. I've had people cheer for me precisely because I suffered from dirty tactics and tapped the offending opponent anyway, without holding a grudge. That kind of attitude inspires others to take a respectful path in competition, just as I have been inspired by my favorite competitors.

In that moment, the competitor feels, and the audience sees, what real budo is all about. Budo is Love. Budo is for the protection of all living creatures, not for egoic indulgence and holding the submission extra long so that guy that dared step on the mat with YOU feels just how powerful YOU are. Budo is doing exactly what is necessary for the benefit of all parties involved. Then letting that moment go.

I choose to compete only occassionally. Some like to compete all the time, some are fine without it altogether. Some have motivations to compete, some have motivations to not compete, and I have full respect for both viewpoints.

Competition can be ugly. Competition can be inspiring. Success in not guaranteed, which makes the quiet, respectful acceptance of victory mean so much, both to the victor and the vanquished.

In short, competition is our opportunity to demonstrate the compassionate philosophy of Aikido in a noble and meaningful way.

I hope others take up this opportunity. The experience can be invaluable.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean

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Old 02-09-2004, 07:07 PM   #23
paw
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Peter,

My post was reactionary and overly brief. We (those of us posting on this thread and participating in this forum) never knew O Sensei. Speculating about O Sensei's likes, dislikes and preferences quickly becomes murky.

As far as I know, O Sensei didn't participate in MMA. He did accept challenge matches and some of his students did as well. Kenji Tomiki didn't participate in MMA per se as you pointed out, but did develop randori and shiai for aikido.

If Pride was around then, would either man lace up gloves and step into the ring? Would they send students to Pride? Maybe not. But challenge matches, randori and shiai aren't that far from testing one's self in MMA, at least as I see it, but I could be wrong and I freely admit it.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:20 PM   #24
JasonFDeLucia
 
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Quote:
Roy Dean wrote:
"I love the aruments that people make how true to reality and street effectiveness MMA competitons are and how they keep on stressing how you really need to know ground techniques to survive on the street since alot of the MMA competitons are spent and won on the ground. I then say, make their ring out of sharp, preferated concrete like a parking lot or street and we'll see how much time they spend on the ground then. Also we then would see how many consecutive falls they would take and go on in the competition."

You might be interested in the video "Worlds Wildest Streetfights." Very educational. Almost all of the fights are the same. Fast and wild swinging. Often the left hand grabs whatever the opponent is wearing and the right hand keeps swinging. The clinch happens spontaneously, with fists still flying and the fight goes to the ground. No takedowns. It just happens in the chaos. Sometimes the people get up off the ground and go back to swinging, but the opportunities for someone to finish the fight on the ground are WIDE and GAPING. And, if someone is skilled or familiar with achieving positional dominance on the ground, the concrete is their friend, as the skilled ground fighter will very likely be on top and their opponent is the one suffering the consequences of "sharp, preferated concrete."



But back to the topic at hand: Competition.

Competition is a mixed bag. I've competed. I've won. I've lost. I beaten opponents in 15 seconds, and had grueling matches where both of us felt like we were dying.

Competition can be beautiful, respectful, enlightening, inspirational, and egoless. On the other hand, it can be rude, disrespectful, humiliating, egoic and unjust. What's unsettling about competition is that it often brings out the best and worst in people.

I recently witnessed one of my good friends and teammates choked unconscious in a competition by a muscled head and arm guillotine. His opponent screamed as he applied the technique with all his might, and screamed again when he stood up and the officials were resuscitating my friend. About 4 out of 50 people clapped. Everyone else was silent.

It was bad- essentially the worst display of etiquette and martial technique I've seen in years, and I couldn't help but get emotional over the outcome. The victor was at a low skill level (less than 1 year training) while my friend is highly skilled (7 years + grappling experience). One this day, surprise, strength and aggressiveness beat skill and technique. I'm also certain that the victor was on steroids. That level of aggressiveness is not natural, and having fought people on steroids before in a competitive environment, I can tell you that it is simply not fair. It's like fighting two people. But that's life. And life is not fair.

Which makes the respectful victories, especially against pumped up adversaries, all the more sweet. In competition, I've been slammed, slapped, kicked in the crotch, taken more than a few forearms to the jaw, and generally been treated in a disrespectful manner by a handful of participants. But, this gives the budoka a rare opportunity to either fight back dirty (force on force), or take a higher road and blend with their opponent's aggression.

Once you submit a opponent cleanly, with technique and timing, after they've taken every opportunity to rough you up and make the match as miserable as possible, something happens to THEM when you shake their hand give them a hug and a smile. You dissolve their animosity, and set their ego at ease.

And others notice as well. I've had people cheer for me precisely because I suffered from dirty tactics and tapped the offending opponent anyway, without holding a grudge. That kind of attitude inspires others to take a respectful path in competition, just as I have been inspired by my favorite competitors.

In that moment, the competitor feels, and the audience sees, what real budo is all about. Budo is Love. Budo is for the protection of all living creatures, not for egoic indulgence and holding the submission extra long so that guy that dared step on the mat with YOU feels just how powerful YOU are. Budo is doing exactly what is necessary for the benefit of all parties involved. Then letting that moment go.

I choose to compete only occassionally. Some like to compete all the time, some are fine without it altogether. Some have motivations to compete, some have motivations to not compete, and I have full respect for both viewpoints.

Competition can be ugly. Competition can be inspiring. Success in not guaranteed, which makes the quiet, respectful acceptance of victory mean so much, both to the victor and the vanquished.

In short, competition is our opportunity to demonstrate the compassionate philosophy of Aikido in a noble and meaningful way.

I hope others take up this opportunity. The experience can be invaluable.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean
T feel as though you're pulling the thoughts from my mind .no joke .thank you
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:24 PM   #25
PeterR
 
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Paul - don't worry. I was just musing on whether Tomiki would have competed or sent his students to compete in MMA events. A younger Tomiki just might of.

Roy - great post.

Ron - good point. The big secret is that the last time I competed was at my Judo Shodan shinsa. I don't do near enough randori and basically am not interested in shiai. I've done it, see the value, but I prefer concentrating on kata. Trying to increase my randori time though.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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